Hot UK prospects showcased on ESPN2

broberts@herald-leader.comJanuary 4, 2013 

Dakari Johnson, right, who played at Sayre as a middle-schooler two seasons ago, was a freshman teammate of UK recruit Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at St. Patrick's this past season.


There will be no Kentucky basketball on TV this weekend, but Cat fans will have the opportunity to get a glimpse of one of John Calipari's biggest recruits.

Senior center Dakari Johnson will lead Montverde Academy (Fla.) against Simeon High (Ill.) at 6 p.m. Saturday in a game that will be televised live on ESPN2.

The made-for-TV matchup is part of the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, W.Va.

Montverde Academy, which is No. 1 in ESPN's latest national rankings, also includes Florida signee Kasey Hill and uncommitted junior guard D'Angelo Russell, a Louisville native that has interest in UK.

Both Hill and Russell are five-star prospects.

Simeon started the season at No. 1 in the ESPN rankings, but has slipped to No. 12 as star forward Jabari Parker continues to recover from an injury.

Parker, who committed to Duke last month, has been playing more in recent days and is expected to start against Montverde.

Johnson recently narrowed his choices to Kentucky, Syracuse and Georgetown, but he is not expected to make a college decision until the spring.

He attended middle school in Lexington and played for Sayre's high school team before transferring to a school in New Jersey for his freshman season.

ESPN considers Johnson the No. 12 overall prospect and No. 1 center in the class of 2013.

Saturday's undercard features Jahlil Okafor, the No. 1-rated big man in the class of 2014. Okafor and sixth-ranked Whitney Young (Ill.) take on No. 20 Neumann-Goretti (Pa.) in a game that will not be televised.

Okafor has a scholarship offer from Kentucky, and is also considering Duke, Michigan State and North Carolina, among several other high-profile schools.

Wiggins struts stuff for Calipari

Calipari and UK assistant Orlando Antigua were in Wheeling on Friday night to see Andrew Wiggins, whose previously undefeated Huntington Prep squad lost 59-46 to Prime Prep (Texas).

Wiggins had 18 points and nine rebounds. The Express, who were ranked No. 3 in the country coming into the game, fell to 14-1 on the season.

Prime Prep is led by junior point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, one of the top five players in the class of 2014 and another major UK recruiting target. Mudiay had 18 points and six rebounds for Prime Prep (15-0).

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216.Twitter: @NextCatsBlog:

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